Evangelism

SPEAK TO ALL THE CITIES OF JUDAH! by Barr ETC Ogbusu

The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word” (Jer. 26:2)

Today, we are going to call on the priests, evangelists, prophets and church workers to stand in the court of the Lord’s house and “speak to all the cities of Judah”. I consider this absolutely necessary in view of what many people say these days about many priests, evangelists, prophets and church workers.

Some people say that the people called by God to speak are now afraid to say what God asks them to say. Some say they are afraid of hurting the “godfathers” so that their purses may not grow lean. Yet, many others accuse them of saying things God has not asked them to say, just to please some people, to the detriment of the wish of God. They say it is well when it is not well. They give pats on the back when they should give knocks on the head.

How painful it is when you stay in a place and you hear people jokingly say, “There are people the priest will see in the church and he will call for another church collection”. Invariably, the priest dances to the tunes of such people, whether the tunes are discordant or not. Or does he who play the pipe not dictate the tune?

Many people think our world is worse off today because the people who should stand in the Court house of the Lord and speak out so that people may hear, are no longer speaking out. They go dumb and deaf when certain persons are involved, but hear, see and speak when others are involved. Not a little think that the church, indeed, those who stand in the Court of the Lord’s house, have disappointed God. One is forced to ask, “Where are the Samuels, Nathans and Elijahs of our own time?”

When Saul disobeyed God, Samuel went to him and proclaimed God’s judgment on him, notwithstanding that he was a king. Saul saw his sin clearly after Samuel had spoken to him, and confessed, “I have sinned. I have violated the Lord’s command and your instructions”. (1 Sa. 15:1-24).

Again, when David took Bathsheba the wife of Uriah into adultery, prophet Nathan went to him and proclaimed God’s judgment upon him and he said, “I have sinned against the Lord”. (2 Sa. 12:1-13).

Further, it was prophet Elijah who went to Ahab and proclaimed his doom when he killed Naboth and took his vineyard (1 Ki. 21:1-24)

In all the above cases, none of the prophets diminished what the Lord asked them to say to those kings. None of them looked at the face of any of those kings. This makes one unavoidably ask the question, “What is happening to many of those who have been called to stand in the Court of the Lord’s house to speak to all the cities of Judah?” Are they really afraid to speak or are they not speaking so that their personal gains may be consolidated?”

There are many reasons why all those who have been called to stand in the Court of the Lord’s house must “speak to all the cities of Judah which come to worship in the Lord’s house.” No doubt, the wages of sin is death. The consequence of persisting in evil is provocation of God’s wrath which brings calamity. It is, therefore, necessary that those who are called to speak should speak so that people may hear and repent of their iniquities. When people repent of their sins and return to God, He will relent concerning the calamity which He proposes to bring upon them (Jer. 26: 3). The event of Nineveh is a clear example that God can really relent or restrain His hands from unleashing destruction on a people if they genuinely repent of their sins and return to Him (Jonah 3).

On the other hand, those who hear the words of the Lord through those whom He has called to the Court of His house, but refuse to obey, stand the risk of total destruction. He says He would make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth (Jer. 26: 4-6). The twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of what a city cursed by God can be (Gen. 19:1-29).

Brethren, I call on all those who have been called to stand in the Court of the Lord’s house to speak. Heavens will not fall if you speak. Heavens will rather grumble if you fail to speak. Moreover, if you fail to speak and the Lord’s people get lost to the kingdom of darkness, the Lord will demand an account of them from you. Therefore speak! Speak out against evils. Do not cover up the wolves when you see them among the sheep. Call a spade, a spade, so that it will remain a spade and nothing more or less. When people begin to assume the position of God, when they begin to take God’s glory unto themselves, tell them without mincing words that there is only one God. Tell them that this one God is a jealous God and would not share His glory with anyone (Ex. 20:5; 1Sa. 42:8).

When the Lord spoke to the children of Israel through His prophet (Malachi), He spoke of the people robbing Him and of them asking Him, “In what way have we robbed you? Of course, He explained that it was in the way of tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:8).

In the same way, I know that some of the people who are called to stand and “speak to all the cities of Judah” will be out there asking me, “How are we not speaking to the cities of Judah?” I will tell you!

When you begin to look at faces before you do or say what you want to say, when faces determine what you will say or do, then, you are not speaking to all the cities of Judah. When I do abominable things but you fail to condemn my action simply because I am your friend, relation or in law or a wealthy member of your congregation, then you are not speaking to all the cities of Judah. When you watch me put my hand in fire without saying a word simply because you do not want to lose my favour, then you are not speaking to all the cities of Judah. When you tell your congregation that it does not matter what they wear to the church services, thereby encouraging indecent dressing to the presence of God, so that you may not lose membership, then you are not speaking to all the cities of Judah. When you fail or refuse to include in your sermons certain matters, for instance, adultery and fornication, because you are also involved, then, you are not speaking to all the cities of Judah. You can now count your teeth with your tongue and see how much or far you have failed to speak to all the cities of Judah.

I am not unaware of the devices of the enemy. He may use one or two people to raise an army against you when you tell them exactly who they are and what they should not do. They may even want to take your life. Do not be afraid, at least, of mortal beings that can destroy the flesh but not the soul (Lk. 12: 5; Mat. 10:28).

Do not be afraid of what they call you because what matters is what God calls you. However, be rest assured that the Lord who has called you to speak will never allow you to be consumed by those who do not want to hear what you say. He did not allow any harm befall Samuel when he condemned Saul’s disobedience. He did not allow any harm befall Nathan when he spoke against the sin by David. Even here, He did not allow Jeremiah to be killed for saying what He asked him to say. In the same way, no grain of your hair shall be lost by you for saying the truth, and nothing but the truth, as the Lord has commanded you to do.

Lest I forget, it is possible you have a large family to carter for and are afraid to speak so that something may not happen and you lose those members of your congregation on whom you depend to lighten your burden. Hear this! The Lord is your shepherd and you shall not want. (Ps. 23:1). Your soul can only find rest in God alone and your hope comes from Him (Ps. 62:5).

See, the entire system is collapsing! There is bad governance and the people are crying! See, we have man’s inhumanity against man. There is stealing everywhere, including in the house of God. People fight people everywhere, even in the house of God. The Holy Spirit is being gradually chased away from the house of God. Blackmailers are everywhere, including the house of God. Sorcerers even wear collars and use the house of God to make disciples for Satan. Are you going to keep silent and for how long? Is it after Christ has come and gone?  Speak! Do not wait until they come to the court of the Lord’s house, because they may never come. Move to them if they cannot come to you. Go, go to the mountains if the mountains refuse to come to you.

Remember, the Lord has said, “Do not diminish a word”. This is prohibitive. It means you should not withdraw or subtract anything from the word of God. It means you should not water it down, or interpret it to suit a purpose. It means too that you should not deliver the word of God to His people in such a casual manner that it will lose force and look cheap. You must give it out raw, without fear or favour. You have to be like Samuel, Nathan and Elijah. You have to be like Moses who did not relent until he had delivered God’s message, “Let my people go”, to Pharaoh (Ex. 7:1-7).

Again, I want you to note what the Lord has said. He said, speak “all the words I command you to speak”. It means you do not speak what you think or what someone other than God has asked you to speak, no matter how highly placed that person is. You do not have to speak in order that you may settle scores with those you do not like. Hananiah the prophet died because he prophesied lies and made people trust in a lie. He said what the Lord had not sent him to say (Jer. 28). The seven sons of Sceva also met their waterloo because they tried to say what the Lord had not sent them to say (Acts. 19:13-16).

Finally, let it be noted that what the Lord has said is that you should “speak to all the cities of Judah”. All means all, without exception! It means you must speak to the rich as well as to the poor, the young as well as the old, the bad as well as the good, the mighty or strong as well as the weak, everyone!

 

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